She may not yet have reached VIP status, but the latest Meeting Life Journal participant Sistiana qualifies as a WIP (Web Important Person). Since 2008, the New York-based Italian singer-songwriter and blogger has posted dozens of songs and vlogs on her Youtube channel Sistianatube - and received thousands of views and comments.
A finalist in the Italian reality TV singing talent show ‘Star Academy’, (the show was taken off by the channel after 3 episodes) Sistiana, aged 30, is determined to build a career in music. To that end, she moved to New York from Milan three years ago. “I wanted to learn and improve, to feel and breathe the best music in the world — and I sure did,” she says. She now regularly performs in bars and coffee shops in the city.
Sistiana’s passion for music began at a young age in the central-southern Italian region of Molise where she was inspired by her two aunts, a pianist and an opera singer.
Later on at high school she would always listen to American and English music. “I hated school,” she recalls, “So I always had my earphones on. I remember wearing black eye-shadow and singing ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ by the Smashing Pumpkins at the top of my lungs,” she adds.
It was through music that she learned English: “I wanted to know exactly what my favourite artists were singing and go to their concerts knowing all of the lyrics!” she continues.
Self-produced and sung in English to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar, Sistiana’s songs are 100% her own. When asked – in an interview on the Italian TV channel RaiDue - where she gets her inspiration from, she said: “Life. Sometimes at the most unexpected of times. Like when I’m walking down the street and I record a tune with my phone because something has happened to me which has touched me either in a good or a bad way.”
“Often love inspires me,” she added, “love for a lover or love for my family — I’m just very in love!”
She also cites as inspiration the work of artists as diverse as Norah Jones, Ben Harper and Italian pop sensation Giorgia. Her own deep singing voice is full of conviction and emotion. Recently entered into a song competition on the channel La3 on Sky, her song ‘The Storyteller’, has been viewed over 47,000 times on YouTube. Viewer comments include: “One word: DIVINE!”, “Beautiful!” and “You have indescribable talent.”
In her song ‘Your Facebook Wall’ , she sings about the kind of heartbreak that can affect today’s teenagers taking the over-sung theme into the modern age. Sistiana also performs her own special covers of famous songs including surprisingly gentle acoustic versions of Aqua’s Barbie Girl and Britney Spear’s Oops I did it again.
But living the dream thousands of miles away from home comes with a price: to help fund her singing career, she has had to take on several part-time jobs – including work as a waitress and a stylist’s assistant.
As an Italian, she has found it hard to adjust to American food. In her blog ‘Piccola New York’, a kind bite-sized Italian guide to the Big Apple, Sistiana demonstrates an admirable open-mindedness and patience in the face of “schifezze americane” (American junk food). Commenting on the American “speciality” ‘Mac&Cheese’ — or “overcooked mush” as she calls it — she says: “It wasn’t completely disgusting… Perhaps because by now I have lost all hope for finding good food here.”
Despite this, Sistiana is determined to stay in New York to pursue her dream — for as long as it takes.
ML. The trip of your dreams.
S. Australia, New Zealand, Iceland… but I have so many.. I wish I could go everywhere!
ML. Is there something that you’ve never done that you would like to try for the first time?
S. Get a dog and live in a farm with nothing but nature and animals. Who knows if I could really do that – I love big cities! But sometimes they can be overwhelming.
ML. What do you think you’d be able to share and teach?
S. I would be good at listening and understanding people. Making them feel less lonely and using my experiences to help them to find another way to see things.
I’m really good at reading people. I would like to use this “power” to make people live together easily.
Below you can read Sistiana’s pages: